Telegraph turns to weekly print model, keeping daily coverage online, as pandemic puts pressure on news business
|Steven Porter||Apr 27|
After more than 150 years as Nashua’s daily newspaper, The Telegraph has scrapped all weekday print editions. The publication said it will move to a weekly print model with daily updates online.
The changes, which were announced Sunday with an unsigned front-page article, took effect today. That means subscribers can expect their next print newspaper to come this weekend, when The Sunday Telegraph is delivered on Saturday, according to the announcement.
Having published weekly for the first few decades of its existence, the Telegraph made the jump to daily publication 151 years ago, on March 1, 1869, as documented in a 2011 article by long-time Telegraph employee Dean Shalhoup tracing the history of the company’s press operations.
Although there are multiple outlets that continue to cover Nashua news—including the Manchester-based New Hampshire Union Leader, which publishes a weekday print newspaper—the Telegraph’s announcement means there is no longer a daily print newspaper based in Nashua, a city with nearly 90,000 residents.
The announcement mentions the current coronavirus pandemic as a reason for the Telegraph to focus on digital products that can deliver news and analysis immediately, but it doesn’t specify whether the financial strain COVID-19 has added onto newspaper operations was a major factor in the decision to nix the daily print editions.
Telegraph publisher Heather Goodwin Henline and editor-in-chief Matthew A. Burdette did not respond to requests for additional information.
Linda Conway, executive director of the New England Newspaper & Press Association, said the pressure COVID-19 has put on the economy has been especially detrimental for newspapers.
“Unfortunately businesses have had to put their advertising on hold during the pandemic, and that has seriously affected newspapers throughout New Hampshire and across the country,” Conway told Granite Memo. “We have always relied on newspaper advertising to fund the free press, and that loss of revenue is threatening the existence of many newspapers.”
Other newspapers in the Granite State have begun to tighten their belts in a variety of ways amid the pandemic, as Nancy West reported for InDepthNH.org: The Eagle-Tribune announced plans to nix two print editions per week, Tuesdays and Saturdays; the Union Leader has furloughed 24 employees for three months, including full-time and part-time workers who can keep their health insurance; the Concord Monitor and Valley News, which are owned by Newspapers of New England, have launched fundraising campaigns; and Gannett, which owns Seacoast Media Group newspapers including the Portsmouth Herald and Foster’s Daily Democrat, have required all employees who earn more than $38,000 per year to take unpaid furloughs one week per month in April, May, and June.
I myself am among the Gannett employees currently furloughed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (I am scheduled to return to work Monday, May 11.)
Mark Guerringe, publisher of The Conway Daily Sun and The Berlin Sun, and co-owner of The Laconia Daily Sun, said that the pandemic seems to have accelerated trends by several years.
“I’ve said in the past that newspapers which go digital is like going to hospice, but now there may be a sweet spot that includes digital midweek and Sunday print for paid dailies,” Guerringue told InDepthNH.org. “We’ll see.”
Worth the Read
NHPR: “Revenue down, costs up in N.H. towns” by Daniela Allee (April 26):
Towns and cities in New Hampshire have seen revenues decrease during the coronavirus pandemic, but some costs are going up, including providing emergency aid. In a survey by the New Hampshire Municipal Association, 40 percent of towns that responded said that they’ve already seen an increase in welfare expenses.
Associated Press: “AP-NORC poll: Rising support for mail voting amid pandemic” by Nicholas Riccardi and Hannah Fingerhut (April 27):
A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds Democrats are now much more likely than Republicans to support their state conducting elections exclusively by mail, 47% to 29%. […]
The poll also shows 60% of Americans support allowing people to vote via absentee ballot without requiring them to give a reason if the outbreak is still happening. That includes 73% percent of Democrats and 46% of Republicans. Some 40% of Republicans are opposed.
The partisan differences could have a strong impact across the presidential battleground states. Five of the top seven swing states — Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — have divided government, and skirmishes over voting have already broken out in several. In some, there are signs that Democratic areas are moving faster than GOP ones to embrace mail voting.
WMUR: “Bow residents vote by drive-thru ballot box for school district meeting” by Tyler Dumont (April 25):
While a stack of ballots was on hand, voters were also able to print and fill them out at home ahead of time. That was part of an effort to keep voters in their cars from check-in to the moment they submitted their choices. […]
Leaders made changes to some articles on the ballot in order to delay expensive renovation projects this year, but officials said some other issues just couldn't wait. The $30 million operating budget for schools was approved 499-180.
New Hampshire Union Leader: "Over 2,000 sign petition to open NH salons for 'one client at a time'" by Paul Feely (April 26):
Ben Vihstadt, spokesman for Sununu, said while public health “must come first,” the governor “is working with all stakeholders to formulate a potential plan as to how hair salons or barbers, along with other industries, could open in a phased approach in a safe and responsible manner in the coming months.”
Nancy Kyle, president of the New Hampshire Retail Association, told members of the Governor’s Economic Re-opening Task Force last week that hair salons and barbershops, along with nonessential stores, should be allowed to open as soon as possible by appointment only.
Vihstadt said members of the Reopening Taskforce will hear a presentation from barbers and representatives of the cosmetology industry on Tuesday.
Did you find this edition of Granite Memo useful? Be sure you have subscribed for future free updates, and forward this to those you know who care (or should care) about New Hampshire politics. —Steven Porter